Dzud Disaster and the Pastoralist Dropout

Telmen Erdenebileg

Abstract


On January 9, 2017, Mayor of Ulaanbaatar issued a decree on Restriction of Movement in order to limit rural to urban migration. The decree states that rural residents, excluding those who require long-term medical care, those who already own an apartment, and those who have a mortgage loan, will be restricted from taking up residence in Ulaanbaatar. One of the main factor to the increasing rural to urban migration is a periodic weather phenomenon known locally as a dzud, a cyclical, slow-onset disaster unique to Mongolia. It consists of a summer drought followed by heavy winter snow (10-350cm) and extremely cold temperatures (down to -40°C), which creates significant challenges for  not only the livestock but also social  basic services such as transportation, health and education, and lead to the collapse of livelihoods in vulnerable herder communities. As Mongolian herder families had faced a severe winter for the second year in a row, the humanitarian agencies have responded to the disaster. In this paper, dzud disaster and dzud consequences to pastoralist dropout and its effects will be discussed briefly.

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